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The Legends are back

Posted Saturday, July 25, 2009, at 9:23 PM

A dump truck would have been hard-pressed to carry all the smiles, backslaps and positive comments heard around the putting green at the conclusion of last year's first-ever Horseshoe Bend Invitational at The Golf Course on Turkey Mountain.

And that was just from the amazing LPGA Hall of Famers who played in the tournament.

With just a casual listen, one could tell that The Legends Tour players, most of who were stepping onto north central Arkansas soil for the first time, were thoroughly impressed with all things related to Horseshoe Bend and couldn't wait to come back again.

Well, the wait is almost over.

The second-annual Horseshoe Bend Invitational is scheduled for Sept. 26-27, once again at Turkey Mountain, and once again with all proceeds benefiting Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

And once again, a galaxy of golf's brightest stars will be on hand for the charity Pro-Am. Stars such as Jan Stephenson, Lori West, Elaine Crosby, Kathy Whitworth, Sandra Haynie, Rosie Jones, Pat Bradley, Jane Blalock, Cindy Miller and defending champion Cindy Rarick, are currently scheduled to take another crack at the challenging Golf Course on Turkey Mountain.

The Pro-Am is merely the icing on the Horseshoe Bend Invitational cake, however.

The weekend will be cram-packed with all kinds of fun and activities for the entire family, including the now-famous potato shoot and a golf clinic that will showcase the legendary swings of some of these legendary players.

More than just a flash-in-the-pan, the Horseshoe Bend Invitational and The Legends Tour are two years into a five-year agreement, and by the looks of things, year number two promises to be bigger and better than ever.

"We do want to continue to grow this on a yearly basis," said Tournament Director and Turkey Mountain PGA Pro Chuck McNeight. "And The Legends Tour has made a five-year commitment to us. Our ultimate goal is to raise as much money as we possibly can for Arkansas Children's Hospital. That's what this is all about."

Count Legends Tour President, founder and former LPGA standout Jane Blalock as being duly impressed with the way the entire north central Arkansas community has embraced The Legends players.

"We are encouraged by the commitment of the local supporters and are excited to build and grow a viable event in their neck of the woods," she said.

Last year's Horseshoe Bend Invitational came off as a smooth and polished event, one that seemingly was pulled off without a hitch.

However, McNeight says the behind-the-scenes work leading up to the event was anything but easy.

"There was a lot of work involved and this would not have happened without the effort of all the volunteers and the support of the whole region," he said. "All the hours and all the calls and all the miles the volunteer staff took on - that's why last year's tournament was so successful. And the community really embraced the whole thing and got behind us. That's what we're counting on for this year, too."

Anyone interested in volunteering for service during this year's Horseshoe Bend Invitational can call Debi at 870-670-5121, or Sharon at 870-670-5821.

For more information about the Horseshoe Bend Invitational, sponsorship opportunities or to enter a team, call McNeight at 870-670-5252, or e-mail proshop@turkeymtngc.com.

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Terry Mullins, Sports Editor
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Since my own high school sports career fizzled out before it really reached its zenith, I have managed to live vicariously through the student/athletes of the 16 high schools I've covered for Areawide Media since 2001. I've witnessed the highest of highs in the form of state championships. I have also seen first-hand the sting of disappointment when the ultimate prize was within reach, but still eluded the grasp of its pursuer. But through all the ups and downs associated with high school sports, my respect for the young competitors that suit up each night, along with the men and women who guide them, remains unwavering. Blog mission: With my passion for music, especially live music, running second only to my passion for sports, I'll try to devote this space to both. Especially when it concerns our region and what's happening around it. Look for commentary and features on area sports figures and musicians, along with things to get out and do in the beautiful Spring River/Ozarks area. But I'll not totally ignore the outside - I'll also hit on some national happenings in the wide worlds of sports and music.
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